San Group Takes Wood “From Harvest To Home”

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“We are using a product that is renewable and we’re trying to produce finished products in the most earth friendly way.”– John Langstroth, Senior Vice President, San Group

San Group Takes Wood “From Harvest To Home” 2
San Group Port Alberni office front at the San Forest Products Value-Added Manufacturing Plant.

Langley, BC—The phrase that most fittingly describes San Group is “FROM HARVEST TO HOME.” That phrase has become the formula for brothers and company heads, Kamal and Suki Sanghera. The brothers pride themselves in not only planning every step from harvesting the trees all the way through to shipping finished products, but also in jumping right in and getting their hands dirty to complete a task to set the stage for what’s next.

Two words that aptly describe San Group are “growing” and “expanding.” “With a renewable resource like lumber and taking it a few steps further than it has ever been, we evolved the business to take on the future in a smarter way,” stated John Langstroth, senior vice president.

San Group Takes Wood “From Harvest To Home” 3
San Forest Products Value-Added Manufacturing Plant, Brunner-Hildebrand kiln infeed.

Suki Sanghera noted, “In the markets, you have to grow, or you will not fit right. Everybody wants something new. So, you have to do something new monthly or yearly.”

That’s exactly what San Group is doing by acquiring facilities and equipment to provide new products into expanding markets.

San Group is a vertically integrated forest products company, operating in coastal British Columbia. San Group’s operations include timber harvesting, saw milling, lumber re-manufacturing, value added lumber manufacturing, global distribution sales and consumer retail sales via San Cedar Direct stores. While selling rough sawn timber directly from the sawmill is, and always will be, the biggest avenue of moving wood products, San Group’s other products include engineered wood and items such as fascia, veneer face products and finger jointed edge glue panels.

San Group Takes Wood “From Harvest To Home” 4
HewSaw operator booth at the San Port Alberni “B Mill.”

San Industries Ltd., a remanufacturing facility in Langley, BC, was San Group’s first plant.

In 2017, San Group purchased the Coulson Sawmill, now identified as San Port Alberni “A Mill.” The design and purpose of the original Coulson sawmill was to service the Japanese export market. The original aim may have changed to accommodate the demands of today’s global marketplace, but the commitment to produce the finest boards and timber remains intact.

Nestled in mid-Vancouver Island, the ecologically rich area of Port Alberni, BC has access to some of the world’s finest timber which San Group manufactures not only to structural and appearance products but also some of the finest pattern and finish type products. Vancouver Island’s softwood species comprise the input log diet for San Group.

San Group Takes Wood “From Harvest To Home” 5
HewSaw outfeed travels to the grading station at the San Group’s San Port Alberni “B Mill.”

Since the acquisition of the San Port Alberni “A Mill,” brothers Kamal and Suki Sanghera have sought to expand San Group operations in Port Alberni and support the community and its programs that eagerly welcomed them with open arms.

San Group has transformed part of the existing “A Mill” footprint from an engineered product facility to a mill for smaller log breakdown, called “B Mill.” The first new sawmill built on Vancouver Island in 15 years, it is specially designed for 4-13” diameter log breakdown and utilize a 60-bin system to sort the lumber.

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Timber Deck racks sort production at San Group’s “A Mill.”

The company also has established San Forest Products Ltd. and San Forest Specialty, both in Port Alberni. Suki Sanghera said, “San Forest Products Ltd. is our Advanced Wood Value Added Manufacturing Plant. The new plant takes in over 300,000 square feet. It manufactures the world’s most premier value-added lumber products which are exported globally and sold domestically at San Group’s San Cedar Direct stores, located across Western Canada.

“San Forest Products is our newest mill with production capacity of 35 million board feet, strategically positioned as a value-added mill designed to seamlessly flow into our vertically integrated business model,” Suki Sanghera continued. “The new value-added mill with over 25 different machine centers can not only extract high value products from low grade lumber but also finish products in a way that increases the value exponentially. It is safe to say, specialized lumber production is at the heart of San Forest Products, and we welcome the most unique orders to service the global market as one of the world’s most premier value-added mills.”

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San Group Packager processes product for “A Mill” and “B Mill” simultaneously.

San Group also purchased Acorn Forest Products Ltd., a log-to-lumber facility, in Delta, BC from Interfor.

“Traditionally that mill was engineered primarily as a Japanese-destination product, but the current shift in demand for product in Japan has enabled us to expand to other markets,” Langstroth remarked. “By doing so, we’ve really put together some very forward-business in new markets that was previously untapped by that whole facility.

“The Coulson (A Mill) original sawmill is designed for a bigger grade log, so it is designed to extract the highest grade out of each log possible,” he continued. The large log line and the small log line, in Mill A and Mill B respectively, feed the engineered and value-added facilities. “So, we actually have the smallest footprint of any log-to-lumber-to-finish product turnaround in all of British Columbia,” he stated. “Where we cut the logs and then where we take the product from the logs and further remanufacture them into value-added products is less than a seven mile turnaround. We are using a product that is renewable and we’re trying to produce finished products in the most earth friendly way.”

San Group Takes Wood “From Harvest To Home” 8
The HewSaw 60-bin sorter system sorts production at San Group’s “B Mill.”

New equipment has been added to San Group’s plants. At the Acorn mill, dry kilns have lain dormant for 10 years. Those kilns are close to being operational again, “which will further put us in control of another part of the manufacturing process,” Langstroth said. Equipment in the arsenal at San Group’s disposal includes stacker/sort, moulder, resaw, lamination line, dry kilns, high speed planer and a paint/stain line.

“We have made some very well-planned position additions to our sales team, those that focus on North America and European markets,” Langstroth observed. “We are selling to over 40 countries presently and we are proud of that. In any corner of the world that you can go to, you will probably see some San Forest products.”

In fact, San Group has acquired a deep-water dock, which is in development. When useable, this port will allow San Group to ship anywhere in the world.

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San Group’s “A Mill” and “B Mill” HewSaw line are situated on Port Alberni’s waterfront.

The sales team at San Group is ready to look after all of your lumber needs.

The team includes: John Langstroth john@sangroupinc.com – Senior Vice President. Adam Hazelwood adam@sangroupinc.com – North American Sales Manager. Tyler Moore tyler@sangroupinc.com – Vice President of Export Sales. Jim Brindle jim.brindle@sangroupinc.com – White Wood Sales Manager. Bruce Molander bruce@sangroupinc.com – Japan Sales Manager. Addison Ross addison@sangroupinc.com – Sales Oceania and North America. Peter Zhao peter@sangroupinc.com – Sales Asia. Ryan Hagen ryan@sangroupinc.com – North American Sales.

The company’s goal is to continue to evolve and expand by creating even more family supporting job opportunities, connecting with local youth and their communities and also opening doors by welcoming newcomers looking for a fresh start. San Group is honored to have built relationships with First Nations communities and looks forward to supporting new understandings on disputed territories, harvesting and expanding replanting efforts as they strive to be good partners and good neighbors.

The future continues to look very bright for San Group as the sky is the limit.

Learn more at www.sangroupinc.com.

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By Zach Miller

Editor and fourth generation of the Miller family to work at Miller Wood Trade Publications.

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